Letter: RFTA – yes or no
Let’s look at a few facts concerning the RFTA ballot proposal.
1. As of 12/31/17, long-term debt totaled $45 million. If the proposal is approved, debt could balloon to $120 million.
2. A mill levy of 2.65 mills will increase revenues by 22 percent.
3. In reviewing the financial statements, I was shocked to find that no funds have been set aside to replace buses. With 88 buses, at a cost of $550,000 to $750,000 each, RFTA should have set aside $3.5 million to $4.5 million per year for bus replacement. Based on an average bus age of 9.3 years, the authority should have $32 million to $42 million available. No such funds exist.
These are the questions:
1. Is a request to increase revenue by 22 percent excessive?
2. Has the board been properly allocating resources of the authority in view of the fact that no reserves have been set aside to replace buses?
3. In view of the above, should the authority have approval to borrow $74 million, almost tripling its debt?
RFTA has dug quite a hole for itself, and it didn’t happen overnight. In 4.3 years, they will need to find funds to replace 88 buses, at a cost of $48 million to $66 million. In terms of additional debt, we don’t need to create at the local level what is happening at the federal level.
I am not convinced that RFTA needs $12.5 million additional revenue and $74 million in debt to balance its budget. I am voting “no.”
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